IRVINE, Calif. (CBS/AP) — The head of the Orange County GOP is asking for an ethics committee Tuesday to determine how to handle a political firestorm, after Marilyn Davenport sent an email picturing President Barack Obama’s face on the body of a baby chimpanzee.

KNX 1070’s Bob Brill Reports

Davenport, a Fullerton resident and elected member of the Orange County Republican Central Committee, sent an email Monday afternoon asking for forgiveness for her “unwise behavior,” just before the GOP committee met for its monthly summit at a hotel in Irvine, where the fallout from the incident was the hot topic.

The county’s GOP chairman, Scott Baugh, told about 75 GOP members at the Monday night meeting that despite Davenport’s “sincere apology,” he still condemned her actions and believed she should resign from the committee because her presence would remain controversial and provide a distraction.

The email Davenport sent Friday to a small group of GOP committee members shows an image posed like a family portrait, of chimpanzee parents and child, with Obama’s face superimposed on the young chimp. Text beneath the picture reads, “Now you know why no birth certificate.”

Some voters have maintained since the last presidential election that Obama is ineligible to hold the nation’s highest elected office because, they argue, he was actually born in Kenya, his father’s homeland. Obama’s mother was an American citizen.

Hawaii officials have repeatedly confirmed Obama’s citizenship, and his Hawaiian birth certificate has been made public. Courts have rebuffed lawsuits challenging Obama’s eligibility.

“To my fellow Americans and to everyone else who has seen this email I forwarded and was offended by my action, I humbly apologize and ask for your forgiveness of my unwise behavior. I say unwise because at the time I received and forwarded the email, I didn’t stop to think about the historic implications and other examples of how this could be offensive,” Davenport’s apology read.

“I am an imperfect Christian lady who tries her best to live a Christ-like honoring life. I would never do anything to intentionally harm or berate others regardless of ethnicity. Everyone who knows me knows that to be true.”

Davenport, who was not present at the meeting, represents the 72nd Assembly District in Orange County on the committee, which is made up of volunteer officials elected for two-year terms. The group is tasked with fundraising, campaigning and debating policy for the Republican Party.

“The eyes of the nation are focused on us tonight because of the actions of a member of this committee. I do not know what was in the heart of Marilyn Davenport when she sent that email, only she does. I want to accept and do accept that Marilyn is not a racist,” Baugh told those gathered for the meeting.

“The email is without question extremely racist. Depicting African-Americans as monkeys is a longtime, well-known and particularly offensive slur because it denies them their basic humanity.”

The body’s ethics committee would investigate the incident, interview Davenport and make a report back to the executive committee within a week, Baugh said.

Deborah Pauly, the committee’s first vice chairman, said the investigation should also include how the email, which Davenport forwarded to a few GOP members, was leaked to the OC Weekly, which first reported on it.

“I do believe that this is an internal matter and it needs to be dealt with swiftly and through the mechanisms provided for in our bylaws. It’s the only sensible thing to do. … but I think it’s important that Marilyn have a full opportunity for a complete hearing of all the facts and that would be including how that email was distributed to the media, causing all this stir.”

A phone message left for Davenport on Monday evening was not immediately returned.

Tim Whitacre, a longtime conservative activist in Orange County and representative of the county’s 69th Assembly District, spoke in support of Davenport and said he had visited her Monday afternoon.

He said the “petite grandmother originally from Kansas” who taught Bible study classes and had a heart condition was terrified by the outcry and had taken her phone off the hook after receiving angry calls. He asked committee members to forgive her and accept her apology — but said she didn’t intend to resign.

Davenport is next up for election in 2012 and can only be removed by a recall before then, committee members said.

Earlier Monday, the president of the California State Conference of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People decried the email as racist and dismissed Davenport’s claims that it was intended as a harmless joke.

The White House didn’t immediately reply to an email seeking comment.

(TM and © Copyright 2011 CBS Local Media, a division of CBS Radio Inc. and its relevant subsidiaries. CBS RADIO and EYE Logo TM and Copyright 2010 CBS Broadcasting Inc. Used under license. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)

Comments (33)
  1. Nicole says:

    What a bunch of racist idiots…
    It should not matter what color he is or where he was born, we elected him as our President and we should be focusing our attention to helping him achieve some goals for the people. This kind of thing is so childish and shows where the mentality of some of our elected officials are. Bush was a moron, and there were many President’s before him of the same ilk, but people have to bash Obama because of his color. He is charismatic and is trying to fix what he can in the short time he has in office….I mean really, you think that he can fix such a mess in 4 to 8 years? REALLY??? But in any event, she should step down imediately. She has the nerve to call herself a Christian with flaws, but I ask, what the hell were you thinking when you forwarded that email on….what did you think was going to happen? How would she like it if people had the same picture but with the KKK as her family? Horrible…

    1. Benitez says:

      You make a very interesting point at the end of your message, which I completely agree with. I’m so appauled by Davenport’s racist behavior. Her behavior is unacceptable and she now needs to do the right thing and step down. She is certainly not a role model and has demonstrated your true inner thoughts on people of different race. It’s so funny when people do what they do and then try to weezle their way out of the mess they created. Another point I want to make is, why is the world so obessed with Obama’s birth place, if he were another White President would this issue have ever come up to begin with? The fact that he is an African American offends many people, which I’m not sure why… President Obama has demonstrated that he is an educated and capable individual for the job. And he is doing the best he can for the people of this country.

  2. dee says:

    what a idiot this woman is. she has the sense of a house plant. Bad example for the tea idiots!

  3. citizen says:

    Typical tea party and republications. This is how they really view black poeple. The hannity,levin, rush, all of them are included pure racist.

    1. stix says:

      Do you serious believe that Maxine Waters, Diane Watson, Mark Ridley-Thomas et el are totally devoid of any sort of racist feelings towards non-blacks.. Constantly pampered & protected by the super liberal/politically correct news media!!

      1. uFools says:


  4. steve rubenstein says:


  5. mra says:

    So What no big deal she’s just stating the facts and the obvious!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    1. Johnny POpp says:


    2. uFools says:

      So, a boy born to an American Wowan and Aftican Man produces a monkey? The big deal is that you are dumbered.

  6. Dottie says:

    When it get’s right down to it, “She is a Rscist” I’m not too many years younger that her but my parents raised my brothers and me to be color blind. It didn’t make any difference what color a person was or what religion as long as they were a good person. I raised my children the same way and have been very proud of them in how they treat other people. This woman is an embarrasment to the State of California and the Country.

    1. stix says:

      Dottie ~let’s see how ‘color blind’ you really are after you get robbed, mugged. raped, hijacked, beaten up by several young black males. Flush your political correctness down the toilet!

      1. uFools says:

        Why do they have to young black males? Why not a Kennedy or, the men featured on, To Catch a Predator.”

  7. Cynthis says:

    The fact is that those that CLAIM TO BE CHRISTIANS ARE THE ONCE THAT ARE TRULY HATEFUL PEOPLE!!!!!!!!! This is why so many people are backing away from christianity! This woman states that she is imperfect christian…well so are the many billions of murders that “imperfect Christians” have committed in the name of JESUS, GOD! This woman is a racist and now that she got caught she is clearly hiding behind the bible. And her committee seems to be trying to cover for her, by trying to go after the person that leaked the story. RACIST OC COMMITTEE is what you should be called!

    1. Sara says:

      Uhhh, wrong, moron. Not everyone who claims to be Christian is hateful. You’re an idiot. Now go back into your cave and stop polluting the world with your nonsense.

      1. Realist58 says:

        True Sarah not all Christians are sleezey just most of them. You see most “Christians” are just sociopaths without a conscience, they live dispicable and sleezey lives all week and then tuck the bible under their arm to be conveniently forgiven on Sunday….but we know you are not like that and some Christians aren’t like that just most of them are 😉 But that’s OK GOD loves you

    2. Cynthis says:

      Praise the Lord! Praise Jesus! I am sorry for my childish outburst. My parents didn’t give me enough hugs when I was a kid.

  8. Karen says:

    I was going to say the same thing.

    It can not be racism when both PRESIDENT BUSH AND PRESIDENT OBAMA were treated exactly the same way.


    It is not going to stop for President Obama.

  9. JohnnyPopp says:

    “he,he, he… MY A$$, Harry!”
    There’s Nothing Funny or Cute about YOU and Your Bigot Buddies!
    YOU People Make me SICK and are a Plight on the American People…
    Crawl back under YouRock… You Slime!

    1. Karen says:

      You are simply rude and NOT AMERICAN.

      Didn’t you know that we ALL have the right to free speech?

      I suggest you move to another country if you do not believe in free speech.

      You don’t deserve to live here.

      1. richie says:

        God bless you Karen this has nothing to do with race, after all slavery was enabled by blacks selling blacks. Early Americans just used the available resources, so everyone accusing caucasians of all this bigotry should first remember what country this is. Freedom of speech. God bless America!!!!!!!

  10. Johnny Popp says:

    This was an act by an Obviously Ignorant Woman… Whether she’s Racist or Not, She needs to step down just for her Stupidity!
    Just typical behavior of the GOP Party… they ALL seem to be Morons!
    Is a Low IQ a Prerquisit to become a Member…

    1. Karen says:

      Low IQ is a requisite in your case.

    2. Saber 1 says:

      No, the Democrats taking from the people who work and earn their own money and give it to low life bottom feeding ILLEGAL ALIENS and the rest of the third world toilet dwellers here in America.

  11. me says:

    Orange County is the most racist county in California, and for some reason this woman thinks normal rules of respect at etiquette do not apply to her. SHE DOES NOT deserve to hold any office or represent the public in ANY WAY. She should be prosecuted for hate speech, and shown the door.

  12. uFools says:

    the problem is quite elementary. White folk authored those pictures of Bush you speak of. A Black person did not product this evil image. Fear begets racism, racis begets evil thougts. Evil thoughts beget evil deeds.

  13. Paul says:

    So much for the argument that Tea Party members or supporters are not violent and/or racist. What would it take? Someone hanging from a tree before we realize something is terribly wrong with the GOP and the Tea Party advocates?

  14. Harry says:

    Why was my post deleted?? I simply said that I remember pictures being emailed out that compared GW Bush to monkeys.

  15. drozone69 says:

    I dont get it?Both are natives of Africa ,Correct?And if we go by the theory of evolution,then they could be related.Shure looks that way

  16. Elaine George- says:

    For exposing this trash, The tea party will love her, but Mariiyn Davenport should be left in a prison cell with Mike Tyson, and Sugar Ray Leonard, naked. She needs to be at Guantanamo, with no guards around. Palin, Trump,and
    Bachman should be there too Elaine

  17. Mexican American Lawyer says:

    @ Karen and richie

    You can’t use your elementary education of our laws and feel smart when you hit the ‘submit’ button.

    Please don’t quote the law if you don’t really know the law beyond a elementary education. First of all, the freedom of speach doesn’t not apply here. Second, the freedom of speech as you have in defined in your brain isn’t a ticket to say anything you want; there are limits to what you can say. Lastly, the Patriot Act effectively eliminated the freedom of speech, along with the other Bill of Rights, as you’ve described, if and when, your comments are deemed in odds with our government. Go ahead and look up the Patriot Act.


    Read above…I can tell that your legal education is from your time in elementary school.
    Slavery was the ultimate form of racism and it doesnt’ matter if your GOD was the one sitting in Africa and selling Africans to Early Americans, it doesn’t make slavery ‘ok’. Racism is intertwined with slavery and trying to rationalize slavery is exactly what ‘white’ slave owners would do.
    I’ll also remind you that slavery effectively caused our Cival War and caused the Constitution to be ammended. Please look up the 13th ammendment. Whether you like it or not, slavery was once legal is the US and wriiten right into the constitution, so I’m very sorry to say that ‘white’ people will always be labeled racist, especially when they poke fun at other races.

  18. Eriic says:

    She may be a lot of things, but Christian is not among them! Or, maybe, having seen the behavior of so many “Christians” lately, she is just like the rest of them: hypocrites.

  19. sara says:

    Oh get over it you idiot liberials ! If one of you did that the media would never had said a word. PLEASE !!!!! like you people have never sent a joke referring to Bush ast not being qualified to run this country. It was a joke people to was not meant to be racist. EVER HERE OF THE BOY WHO CALLED WOILF ? GET EVER IT !!!!!

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